Don Kuhnen, AP Sports
The EP Panther baseball team won their third straight game this week winning 5-1 at Morrison Thursday afternoon with the wind blowing in. The game only had 8 total hits but EP was able to bunch some together in a big 4 run fifth inning to claim the conference victory.
The first four innings were dominated by the starting pitchers as both teams only had one hit and no-one had crossed the plate. In EP’s fifth, Connor Sibley started with being hit by a pitch. Kolby Franks then doubled into the wind over the left fielders head to score Sibley followed by Tucker VanDeWostine singling to drive in Franks. After an out, Noah Wiseley singled to right driving in the Panthers third run and later scored as Conner Meadows reached on an error. Tichler thought the at bat by Sibley was key. “The play of the game was Connor Sibley getting hit by a pitch on an 0-2 count, then Kolby coming up with the big double.”
Austin Cole was dominant on the mound again and only allowed 1 hit, walked 2 and struck out 6 in his five innings pitch limit work. Kolby Franks tallied the Panthers last run in the top of the seventh during a classic “small ball” inning. He walked, stole second, advanced to third on a ground out and scored on a wild pitch.
Franks also pitched the last 2 innings picking up the save while giving up 1 run on 2 hits. Reece Duncan and Bryce VanDeWostine were the other Panthers who reached first via base hits for the Panthers.
Coach Brad Tichler was happy with the outcome against his high school Alma Mater. “We kept plugging away at the plate tonight on another tough hitting night. We only had 4 strikeouts and succeeded in 2 sacrifices which helped on get on the board. Hope we can keep this train rolling. Good win on a windy day.”
The Panthers are 4-3 in conference action and 6-9 overall. They travel to Bureau Valley Friday for a non-conference 4:30 battle.